I had the privilege of meeting Christina at Craftcation this year. Me, the hubby and our four kids had filled our plates with (yet) another amazing lunch, and we sat down to dive into the food. She leaned over, and started a conversation with us. We started to talk, exchanged names, and I found out quickly what an amazingly cool girl she was! Now it’s your turn to come meet Christina of Duende Creations.
please introduce yourself?
My name is Christina Bec Atkinson. I am the second oldest of ﬁve children. I grew up in southern California, where I still live with my husband Andrew.
what do you make or do?
I make jewelry and accessories primarily using brass and silver and various colored gemstones. I enjoy the hands on process of metal smithing. Watching something that was one-dimensional and not very appealing to the eye become transformed into something wearable and beautiful is very fulfilling to me. All of my pieces are produced under the banner of Duende Creations.
where can we ﬁnd your creations?
how long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I started making jewelry around 3 years ago. It began as a hobby, making gifts for friends and family and has slowly grown into something more. I have been doing craft fairs and I have pieces on consignment in Orange and LA counties. As for now, it is not my full-time job. I work part-time as an assistant to my mentor, jewelry designer Jivita Harris Casey, as well as at my church as an administrative assistant.
when you’re not making things, what do you do?
When I am not making things you will most likely ﬁnd me walking or riding my bike by the beach, doing yoga, reading, cooking, and spending time with my husband.
what obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?
One of the most difficult things about turning a creative hobby into a business for me has been time management. I really value spontaneity which can be a hindrance when there is work to be done. The balancing act of doing the things I love, the creative process, and doing the not so fun things, the business aspect, is still something I am hoping to master.
where do you ﬁnd inspiration?
I spent a lot of time traveling in Spain through out my early 20’s and I really fell in love with their culture. The name of my jewelry line, Duende, is a spanish word with a very beautiful and elusive meaning. It is used most often by gypsy flamenco dancers to describe a feeling which wells up inside you when you are a part of or are viewing a truly remarkable performance. It’s that invisible force that sends chills up your spine, or what makes you inexplicably laugh, or cry. It’s regarded as the creative spark given to us from the divine. As humans we all know what that feels like, but as far as I know only the Spaniards have a word for it. So much of my inspiration is derived from other cultures as creativity is innate in all beings and we have all been given the gift to create beautiful things.
what’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
I would like to see Duende expand and go into more of a wholesale approach so that my pieces would become more accessible to people who have not yet known them. I plan to ﬁne tune my collections and hopefully get into some online boutiques.
who are the makers that inspire you?
My biggest inspiration is my husband. Aside from being the full-time director of design at Hurley, he is also an artist, photographer, and co-owner of his own small business. He is such an amazingly creative and motivated person who never ceases to amaze me with his boundless energy. Another person who has had tremendous influence on me as a jeweler is my mentor, Jivita Harris Casey. I interned with her for a year before becoming her assistant, and the knowledge and skills that she has shared with me from her experience of 13 years as a professional jeweler are absolutely invaluable to me.